Tag Archives: aubergine


8 Dec



The ingredients:

1 large aubergine

2 cloves of garlic

Squeeze ½ lime

1 tsp cumin seeds (toast and grind)

1 tsp tahini

2 tbsp Olive oil

Pinch of salt and grind of pepper

The recipe:

  • Light the gas on the hob, then lay the aubergine directly on it.  It will blackened on the flame, and when the skin begins to blister and flake, use tongs to turn the aubergine until it is completely charred on all sides.

roasting aubergine 2

  • Once done, place the aubergine in a plastic bag and when cool enough to handle, strip away the blackened skin and put the flesh (which should be cooked and soft) in the blender along with the garlic, cumin seeds and tahini.
  • Blend in short bursts until smooth, adding the olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Slow roast Ratatouille with Feta

6 Aug

Slow roast Ratatouille with Feta

I was faced with a minor conundrum the other day.  Friends were coming to stay, but would not arrive until quite late at night.  I didn’t want a meal that would require a lot of “last minute” work, drawing me away from my guests.  I wanted a meal that I could just pull together with ease when they arrived.

I went through a whole range of dishes:

  • Paella, but the rice would have to be perfectly cooked.  Not ideal when you don’t know when your guests are going to arrive
  • Thai curry, but I didn’t want to leave the curry simmering on the hob for hours on end, whilst I waited for them to arrive
  • Gluten free Pizza, but there would be a lot of last minute work as I really don’t know how the dough would last (gluten free dough’s tend to go very soggy quite quickly)

A ratatouille I thought would be ideal for several reasons; 1 I haven’t made one for a LONG time; 2, I can still have fun creating my own version of it; 3, I could leave it in the oven for ages should my guests be later than expected, and the flavours would only enhance!

So here is my version of a ratatouille.  Not exactly classical, but it went down a storm nonetheless.   You will notice I haven’t included peppers in this ratatouille.  Peppers are a staple in this dish in my eyes, but due to dietary requirements of my fellow diners, I left them out on this occasion.  I don’t think it really impacted the dish at all as there was so much flavour and variety of texture in the dish with the peppers.

TOP TIP: Do you ever find that courgettes go soggy when cooked?  Well a way to reduce that is by choosing a courgette which is less than 15cm in length.  The longer they get, the more watery they tend to become.

The ingredients for the sauce:

3 fresh tomatoes (diced)

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 very small pinch of chilli flakes (maybe about 10)

1 tbsp Tomato puree

2 cloves garlic (crushed)

Salt and pepper

Splash of single cream (about 100ml)

Splash of red wine (roughly 100ml)

Splash of balsamic vinegar (about 2 tbsp)

The other ingredients:

1 large Red onion

1 large aubergine

2 courgettes

200g feta cheese

Fresh basil


The recipe:

  1. Put ALL the ingredients for the sauce into an oven proof dish (one with a lid), stir together and put into the oven at 200 degrees (Celsius), uncovered.
  2. Cut the red onion, aubergine and courgette into wedges.  Sprinkle the aubergine with salt (to draw out some of the bitterness) and leave for 10 minutes.
  3. Grill the onion, aubergine and courgette on a lightly greased griddle pan in batches.  The red onion will take longer than the aubergine and courgette as you will want the onion to be translucent and to start caramelising.  As each batch is cooked, add it to the tomato sauce in the oven and stir in.
  4. When all the vegetables are grilled, and stirred into the tomato sauce in the oven, add the lid to the dish and leave in the oven for anywhere up to an hour!  The flavours will only get more intense.
  5. To serve, add chopped feta cheese and a few basil leaves.  I served this will long grain and wild rice, but if you have some nice crusty fresh gluten free bread, that will also work very nicely.

Not just a curry

26 Jun

Impromptu Mushroom Biryani

I hadn’t really planned dinner tonight.  Actually, that is a lie, I had.  I just hadn’t had time to contemplate for hours about how I might craft the perfect recipe from a number of other recipes I can find through trawling the net.  So here is my recipe for a mushroom biryani.  I must admit you could perfect it by grinding some almonds in with the garlic and ginger, or sprinkling in some cashew nuts near the end, or throwing in other veggies such as aubergines, green beans, peppers, or even stirring through some freshly cut tomato just before popping the biryani in the oven.

Anyway enough chit chat, this is how I made it:

The ingredients:

200g mushrooms

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2cm ginger, grated/diced very small

2 tbsp vegetable oil/ghee

1″ stick of cinnamon

3 cloves

2 pods cardamom

5 peppercorns

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp cumin powder

½ tsp garam masala

1 cup yoghurt

Juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp Tomato puree

1 handful finely chopped coriander leaves

1 handful finely chopped mint leaves

Salt to taste

200g Basmati rice

The recipe:

  • Dice the onion, crush the garlic and grate the ginger
  • Wash the rice until water runs clear, then cook according to packet
  • Heat oil in a pan; add the whole spices (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and peppercorns).  Fry for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the onion and fry until translucent
  • Add ginger and garlic.  Fry for a further 2-3 minutes
  • Add all spice powders (coriander, cumin and garam masala) and mix well
  • Add the mushrooms and sauté with the onion and spices for 3-4 minutes
  • Pour in to the pan, the yoghurt, lime juice, and a splash of boiling water to loosen the ingredients
  • Add the chopped coriander and mint leaves and salt to taste
  • Combine the rice with the spice and mushroom mix.  Pour into an over proof dish. Cover and place in a preheated oven at 200 degrees (Celsius) for 20 minutes

Tandoori Aubergine Kebabs

I love the smells you get emanating from tandoori ovens when you walk past Indian restaurants.  It is quite a unique aroma, and delivers well known tasty treats such as Tandoori chicken and naan bread.  Obviously as a vegetarian and a coeliac, these are beyond thee realms of my diet.  Henceforth, this recipe is to try and take tandoor matters into my own hands.

The Ingredients:

1 tsp Paprika

1 tsp Ground coriander

1 tsp Ground cumin

Pinch Salt

Pinch Pepper

1 tsp Sugar

2 cloves

1 tsp Fenugreek seeds

3 Green cardamom pods

1 tsp Turmeric

½ tsp Ground nutmeg

1 tsp Garam Masala

2 cloves

1 tsp Fenugreek seeds

3 Green cardamom pods

150g natural yoghurt

1 large aubergine

The recipe:

  • Put all powder spices into a large bowl (including the salt, pepper and sugar)
  • Put the fenugreek seeds, cardamom pods and cloves into a pestle and mortar and crush.  Add to the powder spices
  • Add the yoghurt to the spices and mix well
  • Cut aubergine into large chunks and then stir into the yoghurt and spice mix until all the aubergine is coated.
  • Leave to marinate for 1-2 hours – optional as you could cook it right away, but leaving it will allow the flavours to intensify
  • Thread the aubergine onto skewers and place on a lightly greased oven dish
  • Place into a preheated oven at 200 degrees (Celsius) for 20 minutes (or until starting to char)

I served both the Aubergine skewers and the biryani with a raita.  The raita was just chopped cucumber, a bit of natural yoghurt and a squeeze of lemon juice all mixed up.


Thai curry aubergine boats and sticky rice

30 May

Thai Aubergine boats and sticky rice

Serves 2.  However you might end up with some curry left over.  It depends how big your aubergine is!









Ingredients (and prep)

For the Thai curry paste:

3 garlic cloves – thinly sliced/diced/grated

½ cm chunk of ginger – thinly sliced/diced/grated

2 small chillies – deseed and thinly sliced

½ table spoon cumin seeds – toasted in a dry frying pan/wok for a couple of minutes until they become fragrant

½ tsp. ground coriander

Salt – to taste

Pepper – to taste

Handful of fresh coriander leaves

To make up the curry:

1 large aubergine

7 chestnut mushrooms – sliced (but most mushrooms will do, just grab a handful or two)

75g dried green lentils – cooked until tender according to packet instructions (most types of lentils will do, whatever you have in the back of the cupboard.)

5 spring onions – sliced on an angle

Large splash gluten free soy sauce – but add more to taste as your curry evolves.  Use this rather than salt to season.

2 tsp honey (or palm sugar will do)

1 lime – you’ll need the zest and the juice

1 can coconut milk

The rice:

100g Sushi rice or any other short grain glutinous rice

2 tbsp. Rice wine vinegar (optional)

The recipe:

1.    Whip out you pestle and mortar (or blender if you don’t have a pestle and mortar, whilst the blender is far less tiring and speedier, the pestle and mortar feels far more authentic and therapeutic if you’ve had a tough day).  Throw the ginger, garlic and chilli into the pestle and mortar and bash away until it looks like a paste.  Add in the toasted cumin seeds, salt, pepper, ground coriander, keep bashing.  Add in a handful of fresh coriander; keep bashing until you have a nice smooth paste and looks a bit like this:







2.   Halve the aubergine long ways.  Score through the flesh in a criss cross fashion without breaking through the skin.  Scoop out the flesh with a spoon (keep this aubergine flesh aside for later), leaving the aubergine shell about ½ cm thick.  Sprinkle the flesh side with salt and leave to stand whilst you prepare the filling.

3.    Heat some oil in a wok, when its hot, add the paste.  Fry for 2 minutes – take care not to let it burn.

4.    Add the spring onions, mushrooms and aubergine flesh to the paste and fry for 3-4 mins, until slightly browned.

5.    Add a large splash of soy sauce, the cooked lentils, honey, zest of 1 lime and the coconut milk.  Stir and leave to simmer for about 15 mins.  Adding soy sauce to taste.

6.    Rinse the aubergine boats in cold water and place in an oven proof dish.  Carefully spoon the curry mixture into the boats.  Cover the oven proof dish and place in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for 25 mins.

7.    Whilst the boats are in the oven, prepare the rice.  Put the water and rice into a saucepan and simmer gently according to packet instructions (I personally don’t bother adding salt or anything to the water).  Check the rice regularly to make sure it isn’t boiling dry and sticking to the bottom of the pan.  When it is almost done, turn off the heat, put a lid on the rice and let it slowly absorb the remaining water on its own.

8.    When the rice is done, sprinkle in the rice wine vinegar (this isn’t a necessity, but it does help season the rice nicely) and gently fold into the rice.

9.    To serve, if you want to impress, presentation is key (otherwise you are likely to end up with a capsized aubergine boat!).  So here’s how I did it:

  • Lightly grease a teacup or ramekin (or empty GU pudding pot) with a spot of oil
  • Fill the receptacle with rice and gently push down and level off.
  • Place a plate on top of the rice, invert, tap the bottom of the cup/ramekin and remove carefully
  • VOILA!  A beautiful little portion of rice!

10.    Take the aubergine boat out of the oven dish and place beside the rice, taking care not to ‘capsize’ the boat and loose the filling!